April Jones trial: 'No evidence of car collision' to back up Mark Bridger's claims that he ran over schoolgirl

Accused claims he accidentally killed when he ran her over

A forensic scientist said there was “no physical evidence” to back up former lifeguard Mark Bridger's claims that he ran over schoolgirl April Jones, a court heard today.

April, who had cerebral palsy, vanished while playing on her bike near her home in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, on October 1 last year.

The trial of Bridger, 47, heard from forensic scientist Roderick Stewart who told the jury there was not a trace of “physical evidence” either on Bridger's Land Rover or on April's bike to back up Bridger's claim that there had been a collision.

The former abattoir worker denies abduction, murder and intending to pervert the course of justice by disposing of, concealing or destroying April's body.

He says he accidentally killed April when he ran her over and accepts that he must have got rid of her body.

But he says he cannot remember how he disposed of the body because he was suffering memory loss caused by alcohol and panic.

Mr Stewart told the jury at Mold Crown Court: “There was no physical evidence on that vehicle of a recent collision. If there had been a collision with a body or a bicycle I would have seen something. It always leaves a trace.”

The witness said there was also no trace of evidence of a collision on April's bike, adding: “This vehicle weighs two tonnes. It's going to do a lot of damage.”

Asked by Brendan Kelly QC, defending, why he did not examine the area around the garages in the Bryn-Y-Gog estate where the alleged collision took place, Mr Stewart responded: “There would not have been any point in examining that area because there had not been a collision. There would not have been anything to see.”

Mr Kelly asked if there had been checks for “microscopic fibres” on the tyres of the vehicle.

Mr Stewart said he did not use a microscope but said his examination had been “very thorough” adding: “I have been doing this for a very long time.”

Pc Gary Rees, a forensic collision investigator who assisted Mr Stewart also said there was “no evidence” that Bridger's car had struck a pedestrian.

He said: “Looking at the vehicle I could find no evidence of any obvious contact between a pedestrian and the vehicle.”

Bridger, wearing a blue shirt and tie and round glasses, appeared emotional and wept at times during the day's evidence.

April's body was never found despite the biggest search operation in British policing history.

The prosecution say Bridger, of Ceinws, snatched and murdered April in a “sexually motivated” attack.

The jury was sent home for the day and the trial will resume tomorrow at 10am.